Outgoing Camas Mayor, Shannon Turk, presided over her final City Council meeting Monday night — a busy evening in which council members voted on several ordinances and resolutions.
Earlier in the day, at the Council public workshop, Downtown Camas Association Executive Director, Carrie Schulstad, publicly thanked Turk and Council Member Deanna Rusch for their years of public service, and presented them with mugs full of candy.
“Thank for you what you did for Camas,” said Schulstad.
Several firefighters publicly thanked Turk and Rusch, who were both defeated in the November 5 election. Camas School Board member, Erika Cox, also expressed her gratitude toward Turk, who has served Camas for years: 7 as city councilor, and 1 as Mayor.
Cox said the following: “Your passion for educating our neighbors on processes, and your encouragement for involvement was evidenced by your volunteering in our schools, your mentorship of Camas High School youth, the club CYAC for civic-minded students, your years as a council member, and your service about volunteering for an appointment as mayor in the middle of a resignation, during your service to Camas in a myriad of ways I’ve mentioned you’ve inspired young leaders, you’ve encouraged your neighbors to be involved, and you’ve given hours upon hours representing our city …”
Rusch also expressed gratitude.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve you the last two years,” said Rusch. “It’s probably been one of the best things I’ve done in my life so thank you for the opportunity. The results of the election are disappointing but I will not love Camas any less … it’s really easy for these things to tear us apart, but I’m hoping that these things bring us together …”
At workshop, Camas city staff provided an update on the Lake/Everett Road roundabout, which continues to progress. They also showed a video of the finalized landscaping selection, which uses native and hearty ornamental species (including the Camas lily) for easy maintenance. It was noted that the city will repurpose a lot of the cut trees into benches.
Brady Road Project
The Brady Road project is progressing well, thanks to good weather. However, staff has run into soil underneath the road that is softer than expected, requiring excavation and replacement of a stronger base. Costs right now are $250,000 on this phase of the project. Cost overruns on this project are budgeted, said the city, which expected the project to cost $6.2 million, but it was bid at $5.6 million.
New Staff Positions
Council members approved, as part of the 2020 budget re-adoption, the addition of three new city staff positions: Communications Manager, Economic Development Manager, and School Resource Office for Camas High School.
Council member Bonnie Carter emphasized how citizens want better communication so she is very supportive of the new Communications Manager position.
In the public comments, resident Margaret Tweet objected to the creation of the Economic Development Manager position.
“The city is not running these businesses or operating these businesses,” said Tweet. “There are things the city can do to help a business to help attract a company. Sometimes economic development work is non-sensical. I remember Paul Dennis and the former mayor taking credit for Sharp. It’s important to understand these economic development groups take credit for things they don’t do. The marketing aspect isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. We need to see an audit report of CWEDA (or Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association).”
To which Mayor Turk replied: “The audit is ongoing, and we can see there are things need to be changed. In the past year, the CWEDA board put into place the requirement of agenda, minutes, and audits. We set up a treasurer and there is public review of payouts being made. There were a lot of growing pains, and we are working to correct them. The audit report will be made public.”
Property Tax Levy
After receiving final assessed values from the Clark County assessors office, Council members voted to approve the next levy, which will be $3.11 per $1,000 of assessed value. By law, the property tax levy cannot exceed one percent annually.
Camas Library Bond
Council also voted to make a final payment on the 20-year Camas Library bond, which is $610,000, or about 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
The Hagensen/Webberly Annexation was presented by Robert Maul, and calls for annexing property just north of Camas High School into city limits. The council voted 4-3 to reject the annexation at this time. Here’s how the vote was split:
- Carter: Yes
- Burton: No
- Smith: No
- Anderson: No
- Hogan: No
- Rusch: Yes
- Chaney: Yes
Block Grant to Rehabilitate 12th Avenue
Council voted to apply for a community development block grant of $250,000 to make extensive repairs to 12thAvenue.
Emergency Rescue Fund 2020
Council voted to support a levy to raise $21,000 for the Emergency Rescue Fund.
Crown Park Improvements
Council votes to amending the city of Camas 2019-2020 budget ordinance to include improvements to Crown Park, which includes new bathrooms.
Parks and Recreation Meetings Location Change
Council voted to move the location of Parks and Rec meetings from Lacamas Lodge to City Hall so the proceedings can be recorded.
At the close of the meeting, Turk expressed a heartfelt statement about public service. Please click the link to watch this short video: https://youtu.be/1s6ROYInCug
Mayor-Elect Barry McDonnell will be sworn into office on December 2.